By on July 7, 2021

Dodge

We don’t normally pay too much attention to pony-car pissing contests or quarter-to-quarter sales battles because, well, they aren’t always interesting and/or newsworthy.

What happened this past quarter caught our eye, however.

Not only did the Dodge Challenger surpass the Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in sales, it did so in the face of industry headwinds — namely a chip shortage that is keeping inventories low.

Of course, overall sales numbers are still low, thanks to that chip shortage and the fact that the pandemic isn’t yet over, and it’s obviously worth noting that comparing year-over-year sales to 2020 — when plants were shuttered and car buyers were staying home, due to COVID — means that even low 2021 numbers will look good, relatively speaking.

That means the Challenger’s sales numbers of 15,052 represent a more than 50 percent increase from 2020, though it is a very slight drop from Q1 of 2021 (15,096). To compare it to a more normal year, in this case, 2019, Dodge moved 15,237 units of the car in Q2 of that year. It sold almost 20K in the second quarter of 2018.

Meanwhile, Ford wasn’t too far off the pace in Q2 of this year, selling 14,675 units. Ford reports monthly, not quarterly like Dodge (man, we wish all OEMs did it monthly, so we’d have a better sense of what’s happening with sales), and Mustang fell off hard in May and June. It moved 8,000 cars in April, 4,435 in May, and 2,240 in June.

Chevy, like Dodge, reported quarterly sales, and the numbers are, um, not good. Just 2,792 Camaros moved in the quarter. Astute readers who remember the previous paragraph will note that Ford sold almost that many Mustangs in June, which was by far that car’s worst month of the quarter.

We can’t say we’re surprised. Chevy seems to have given up on marketing the Camaro, and the car’s future is uncertain. The car is hampered by poor visibility, and the design is starting to look a tad dated.

The Challenger is also long in the tooth, and the platform that underpins it would be right around the legal drinking age were it a human American, but Dodge markets the car (and its overall brand identity as a muscle-car brand) and has added high-performance versions like the Hellcats and Redeyes in recent years. The car is also probably the most comfortable of the three to drive, thanks to the platform it shares with the larger Charger allowing it to have an interior that feels more spacious than the other two.

Ford, of course, keeps working with the also due for an update Mustang, adding a Mach 1 model this year. And the Mustang name arguably carries the most cachet of the three. It’s hard to explain the June swoon, though we’d guess the chips, or lack thereof, are to blame. The Mustang still has outsold the Challenger overall through the first half of 2021, by about 1,800 units.

The Mustang might remain the pony-car sales king. But for now, a new, uh, contender arises.

[Image: Stellantis/Dodge]

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49 Comments on “Dodge Challenger Outpaces Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro in Q2 Sales...”


  • avatar
    APaGttH

    A C8 starts at $58K – unless you’re going lower on the ladder on the Chevy Cave-on-Wheels, sorry Camaro, there is little justification if you can stretch the price.

    Of course the Challenger sold more – when all you need is leftover Z80 processors from Tandy Model IV computers…

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      I have doubts the C8, which is still basically 2x MSRP unobtainium, is doing much to Camaro sales. The Alpha Camaro failed all on its own because GM doubled down on making it a compromised track toy. Great if you live on Road Atlanta, but not so great elsewhere.

      The Challenger is a Cordoba in a Boomer costume but it also basically delivers on what a lot of people want. Fast enough in a straight line, has enough RWD dynamics so you can have fun beyond a Camcord, and has enough cargo/passenger capacity for daily life.

      The Camaro is probably dead for the next gen until GM brings it back as an EV in 10 years. The Mustang is likely going to push more into Thunderbird/’71 Mustang territory with its next gen. The Challenger is frozen in amber until regulations make it unprofitable.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        The real loss is the flat-crank, manual transmission, 9000 RPM Z28.

        https://www.motortrend.com/news/chevrolet-camaro-z28-sixth-gen-dead/

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        No argument here that the fatal flaw for the Camaro is its track orientation.

        Under 6/10 it is miserable to drive, and it would make a miserable daily. Above 6/10 it is a dream to drive. The harder you push it, the better it gets.

        Good luck finding anywhere on an American road you can drive 6/10 or above.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Disagree – the Camaro’s fatal flaws are 1) styling, 2) you can’t see out of it, and 3) lousy trunk. I suppose 2) and 3) also apply to the Mustang, but it looks great.

          • 0 avatar
            MoDo

            Flaw with camaro is they asked 5th gen owners what it should be, of course they told them to keep it the same so theirs wouldn’t plummet in value. They also raised prices across the board for the 6th gen significantly. Off hand I believe a 5th gen SS was dang near $10,000 less than the 6th gen road racer that 1% of buyers actually road race.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Camaro sales are dropping precipitously. The problem is the car itself, not other factors. Hey, Chevy, how about dropping the lower window line a couple of inches? Maybe raise the roof an inch or two? Sales will then improve substantially. Some designer might be a bit steamed, but he’ll just have to get over it.

  • avatar
    redapple

    APa > Is the winner.
    A Radio Shack – tandy reference. Top Marks brother.

    My boss bought a Red Eye. He is a world class A hole. Worst boss ever.

    But I still love the car. Of the 3 – its the winner.

  • avatar
    redapple

    APa > Is the winner.
    A Radio Shack – tandy reference. Top Marks brother.

    My boss bought a Red Eye. He is a world class A hole. Worst boss ever.

    But I still love the car. Of the 3 – its the winner.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I guess the Camaro is going to die off… again.

    I admire Challengers from a distance, but they are remarkably small inside. Many compact cars have more room for people.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      The Wraith is the only new 2-door vehicle I’m aware of with more interior volume than the Challenger.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      FWIW…

      Passenger volume:
      Challenger = 93.9 cu ft
      Elantra = 99.4 cu ft

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Challenger = 94cu ft, 197 inches long
        S560 Coupe = 90cu ft, 198 inches long
        Continental GT = 87cu ft, 191 inches long
        Roll Royce Wraith = 99cu ft, 208 inches long

        So the giant Roller matches the Elantra.
        RWD 2-door cars are not space efficient. However, the Challenger’s 94 works out to be much more liveable than the Camaro’s 78.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      How many people are you talking about? The back seat is pretty well useless but as a tall guy the Challenger, and the LX cars in general, are outstanding. More seat travel than I can use, enough headroom, you don’t feel like you’re sitting in the floor pan. Limiting the discussion to cars you can’t do much better.

      • 0 avatar
        kkop

        This. I’m 6’4″, and our Challenger was the first car where I did not have to slide the seat all the way back. Love that car. No space in back seat, but who really cares? Next time I buy one, I’ll check the ‘backseat delete’ option anyway. Also, has an excellent trunk comfort index.

    • 0 avatar
      nrd515

      Remarkably small inside? ?????? I’m built like an overweight gorilla and it has tons of room.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    The Challenger has become a cultural statement among a certain group of American men. I think this sales resuilt has more to do with that than with the Challenger’s automotive merits, especially since the Challenger is older than the generations of both Camaro and Mustang *before* the current ones.

    The Alpha Camaro would be the best car in this class if you could see out of it. But since you can’t, the Mustang is the best car in this class. The Challenger is too big, too old, too soft in base form, and too ugly.

    • 0 avatar
      DungBeetle62

      That and the Tandy reference (kinda related) win this thread.

      Love the irony that Dodge has now sold for 13 years a pastiche off a car they only originally made for 5.
      “What did you do to make it better for the next model year?”
      “New Hell-dog-wamama Hemi in a special limited edition makes 100 HP more than last year”

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    I also found the Tandy reference hilarious.

    But even a V8 engine at 6000 RPM only has 400 power strokes per second, or one every 2.5 milliseconds.

    With a tight software loop written by savvy software engineers who were perfectly aware of the limitations, even a lowly Z80 had ample computing power to run it.
    Probably not even utilizing the full 64K available memory addresses. Yes 64K, as in thousands.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    No one has ever been able to give an objective answer to why an “old platform” is bad, apart from the usual journalistic bias toward whatever is new and shiny.

    The styling is stale, but the value for the dollar is class leading, the engines are still competitive, the interior and features are competitive, and the car has always catered toward comfort and space over all-out handling.

    I guess I don’t understand why it should be surprising that a successful formula remains successful. Especially since the Camaro and Mustang have only gotten uglier as the years have gone by.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      theyre still more likely to finance 600 FICO cockroaches than GM or F

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      Jack, exactly. The camaro proves super duper handling cars don’t sell in north America, because they dont have to corner wide open at 2g’s. Our roads are flat and straight, we have traffic jams. Buying a Camaro SS 1LE in this market is no different than buying a Ram 3500 dually and never towing anything with it. The clowns bashing both the challenger AND the camaro are off their rockers and are whining just for the sake of whining.

    • 0 avatar
      midnite_clyde

      Old platform bad? Front crash test is terrible. Feet and legs tend to get crushed. It’s insane FCA did not fix this all these years using that platform. Same for the 300 and Charger…and GC, and Journey.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Exactly Jack. The “oLd Is ToTaLLy BaD bEcAuSe ReAsOnS” crowd is so out of touch with reality its hilarious

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Exactly Jack. The “oLd Is ToTaLLy BaD bEcAuSe ReAsOnS” crowd is so out of touch with reality its hilarious

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      Amen to all of that, and add to that that peak car was a good 15 years ago and new is now in most regards a synonym for worse.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    My guess? The rental agencies are buying again. Challengers and Chargers are MAJOR fleet queens.

    Speaking of rental agencies…my girlfriend had to rent a car a few days ago while hers was in the shop and if the rental place we went to was any example, the industry is in a sorry, sorry state. The lot was full of Mitsus, some two or three years old, all beat up, some even missing hubcaps.

    They ended up giving her an almost-new Kia Forte (surprisingly nice car to drive. by the way) that would have been great had the last renter not been smoking weed in it for about 200 hours straight.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    “adding a Mach 1 model this year”

    Don’t we mean Mach onE?

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      No, they came out with a new Mach 1. It sits between the GT and the GT500.
      https://www.motortrend.com/reviews/2021-ford-mustang-mach-1-first-test-review/

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    For years, GM was criticized for not listening to Automotive Journalists (who ‘Represented Enthusiasts’).

    With the Camaro, GM listened, and now the Camaro is effectively dead. [Thank you journalists.]

    (As stated ad infinitum, Mustang is [especially was] more user-friendly.)

  • avatar
    22_RE_Speedwagon

    There are no Camaros available to buy

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    This isn’t surprising. The Mustang is a turd and nobody cares about the Camaro despite it being a great car.

    The Challenger is fun and Chrysler has done a great job keeping it fresh. Yes the platform is old but nobody can come up with any legitimate complaints about it.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    Challenger is the ultimate American car: irresponsible, bloated, and middle-aged.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The Camaro, as others pointed out, was racer-boy’ed’ out of the market. Only track day types with disposable income will buy it.
    The Mustang is the best blend of performance and usability but it’s basically a 2 seater. The back seat are for kids, dogs or S&M types.
    The Challenger is a big soft brute. Americans don’t tend to care about going around corners. It’s kinda like a pickup but without a box.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    In late 2019 I purchased a leftover 2018 Dodge Challenger GT awd for $28k plus fees. It has the 8.4 Uconnect plus a couple of additional option packages. I suppose you could call it my midlife crisis vehicle. The awd makes up for me not buying an AMC Eagle when I should of 30 years ago.
    It’s a practical muscle car that’s comfortable for my 6’2 self with decent passenger room plus a nice sized trunk. The folding rear seats enabled me to move some wall sized art work as well as other items with no issues.
    I did price out a few Mustangs but couldn’t find in stock a premium above base rental spec in stock. The Camaro wasn’t even on my radar since it’s claustrophobic though it’s platform is excellent.
    I’m quite content with it for now but would like to see what it’s replacement is like in a few years.
    If it’s sized more like the less bloated 70-74 B-body and Alfa Giulia based I could see going for one.

  • avatar
    namesakeone

    You’re saying the Camaro is doomed? I think all three are, at least in their current configuration.

    The Camaro is, for all the reasons described above. Rather than make the next Camaro less of a track toy and more market friendly–for a diminishing market–GM will probably not have a next Camaro. It will free up factory and showroom space for more crossovers.

    I suspect the Mach-E is the future of the Mustang. The current Mustang–the coupe we all know and love–shares no major components with anything else in Ford’s portfolio. Even at 100,000 units per year, that has to be awfully expensive–an expense that Ford probably is thinking twice about repeating. Even if it’s not an electric, the initial success of the Mach-E has demonstrated that the market will accept a Mustang SUV, just as it had a 4-door Charger a decade and a half ago. Purists be damned, Ford wants to make money.

    That leaves the Challenger. Stellantis doesn’t really want to continue Chrysler (division); I suspect they feel the same about Dodge. Both have products that are over a decade old, and I don’t see most ever being replaced. They bought FCA for Ram and Jeep, and Dodge and Chrysler are just in the way.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      I kind of see where you’re going with that thought of the Mustang changing. I think once the Camaro goes away (again), it’ll just be the Mustang and the Challenger left… until Stellantis can no longer offer it. Once that happens, I think you’ll see the Mustang become larger, more Thunderbird, less Mustang. I think it will always be a sports coupe, but right now, its got a bit of an identity crisis. Is it a pony car/ muscle car, or is it a Corvette fighter? There’s been more than one article written pitting the higher end Mustang models (GT350/350R/500) against Corvettes and that’s almost always a losing battle for the Stang as a 2+2 car. I doubt you’ll see the Mustang get more “Corvette competitor” but I’d bet that without its primary competition in the Camaro and Challenger, you’ll see it get portlier and more Grand Tourer.

      • 0 avatar
        namesakeone

        Maybe you’re right as far as the Mustang not becoming an SUV; with the eventual disappearance of the Camaro and Challenger, the Mustang will have the market all to itself (and will probably be one of two convertibles left on the market). But still, Ford has no other RWD platform globally (unless you count the F-150), so tooling has to be expensive. Maybe, instead of making the Mustang into a Thunderbird, they could also make an RWD Thunderbird from the same chassis…and then a Lincoln sedan that’s not an SUV…no, that would be asking too much.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        The 5.0 and 10 speed are similar to what’s in the F150.

    • 0 avatar
      Mustangfast

      Rumor is the new Mustang will share platform parts with the Explorer. Not sure how that will work but that was a rumor

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    I wasn’t really a fan first, but the Challenger is looking better all the damn time.

    By default.

    • 0 avatar
      Drew8MR

      If they would drop a “Thunderbird” type PLC (300 coupe?) that leaned into the opulence I might be interested. Tune the 392 to be quiet, make the tranny smooth and pimp out the interior.

  • avatar
    Mustangfast

    I didn’t realize the Camaro was in such bad shape sales wise. Ford does seem to be struggling more than others with chips, especially since seasonally is expect sales to go up for mustangs as weather gets warmer. I don’t think the market is big enough for 3, and Ford and Dodge seem to be different enough to be complimentary. Challenger (and charger/300) seem to be proof if you build a decent car from the get go you can run it for a loooong time.

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